How to Become a Forestry Consultant



Becoming a forestry consultant takes a combination of education, experience, the proper skill set, and a great reputation in forestry. Below, we've outlined how to get started in this profession. We've also included helpful occupational information, such as a job description, an overview of the job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employer types and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Forestry Consultant

Typically, you'll need at minimum a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in an area such as forestry, environmental science, natural resource management or a similar field.


A master’s degree in your area of specialization may or may not be a requirement for employment with a forestry consultant firm, depending on the discretion of the employer. If the firm you wish to work for does not require you to have a master’s, they will almost certainly consider it a great asset.


Training or certification as a project manager may also be a requirement to get a job as a forestry consultant, as much of the work is project based.





General Job Description

Forestry consultants provide a wide range of services to commercial, governmental, recreational and conservational clients in determining the best way to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, water quality and soil stability.


They assist clients with the task of ensuring they are compliant with environmental laws and regulations. Forestry consultants may also be involved in assisting clients with such tasks as implementing timber inventory control systems and geographic information systems.



Typical Job Duties & Responsibilities

• Assist in the development and improvement of techniques for measuring and identifying trees

• Perform inspections of forests and forest nurseries

• Estimate the future growth and value of standing timber by mapping forest area soils and vegetation

• Assist companies in reaching timber production goals by managing timber sales

• Assess the impact of timber harvesting and other forest operations on wildlife populations and habitats

• Ensure forested lands are reclaimed for their most suitable use

• Plan cutting programs and re-forestation programs

• Choose and prepare sites for new trees, using controlled burning, bulldozers, or herbicides to clear weeds, brush, and logging debris

• Conduct public education seminars regarding the importance of forest conservation



Skills Needed to Be Successful

In order to deliver their services and communicate their ideas effectively to their clients, forestry consultants need to have the right skills. Aside from specific industry based skills, such as knowledge of appropriate management techniques, the main skill set forestry consultants need are communication skills.


A solid communication skill set for forestry consultants is multi-faceted; they need excellent verbal, written and presentation based communication skills, as well as listening skills, as they need to truly understand the needs of their clients. These skills are necessary as forestry consultants must often prepare proposals and recommendations for their clients. Giving presentations to groups involving the staff and/or executives are common for forestry consultants also.


Other essential skills include interpersonal skills, the ability to see issues from a business management perspective and conflict resolution skills.



Prospective Clients of Forestry Consultants

The services of forestry consultants are typically utilized by the following types of organizations:


• Conservation groups

• Environmental agencies

• Government agencies

• Lumber Firms

• Oil, gas and mining companies





Work Experience Needed

You'll need a great deal of work experience and expertise on your resume. Forestry consultants typically have over 10 years of experience in the forestry industry, working in positions with increasing levels of responsibility prior to becoming a consultant. For this reason, this is typically considered a "mid-career" profession.



Services Provided by Forestry Consultants

Forestry consultants provide a wide range of services to their clients for a fee. They may provide one or two of these services, or they may offer all of their services, depending on the arrangement with the client. Some forestry consultants may specialize in these areas, while others may have a broad knowledge and service base. Examples of these services include, but are not limited to:


• Forest inventory

• Herbicide and fertilizer application

• Management plan preparation

• Planting

• Prescribed burns

• Surveying

• Thinning

• Timber sales

• Wildlife habitat improvement



How to Get a Job as a Forestry Consultant

Before you apply with any forestry consulting firm, or start your own, you will need to have an established reputation within your area of focus. Once you are confident that you have enough education, experience, training and a solid reputation, you can begin to make a list of forestry consulting firms that you would like to work for.


You can choose to apply for a job with a small consulting firm, a large multi-national firm, or you if you have enough capital, experience and contacts you can start your own.



Forestry Consultant Jobs - Current Opportunities

Although job opportunities in this field are rarely posted online, from time to time they will be. Have a look below to see if there’s anything listed in your area:




Similar Occupational Guides in Our System

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to "forestry consultant", as they involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Agricultural Consultant

Environmental Consultant

Environmental Manager

Forest Manager

Natural Resources Manager

Natural Resources Planner



Professional Associations for Forestry Consultants

Professional associations are collections of practitioners, organizations and agencies committed to the support, development and enhancement of careers in the field of forestry and forestry consulting. The field of forestry has a number of professional associations that support ethics in related professions, report current research findings within the field, and foster partnerships among its members.


Below are some of the numerous benefits to becoming a member of a professional forestry association.


• Demonstrate professional commitments as a forester

• Maintain current awareness of industry developments and trends

• May be able to take professional forestry courses

• May be able to participate in industry research projects and/or policy decisions

• Networking opportunities: Meet potential employers, partners and clients

• Learn about employment and professional experience opportunities

• May be entitled to discounts from sponsors

• Nominate yourself or others for industry awards

• Set yourself apart from other qualified applicants


Those interested in becoming a forestry consultant should visit these websites for more information:



Canadian Forest Service

Canadian Forestry Accreditation Board

Canadian Institute of Forestry


United States

Association of Consulting Foresters

The Society of American Foresters

US Forest Service




Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of this profession:


Occupations in Alberta:Forester.” (December 1, 2012). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 27, 2019.

Life, Physical, and Social Science:Conservation Scientists and Foresters.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 27, 2019.

Explore Careers:Forestry professionals.” (December 11, 2018) WorkBC website. Retrieved November 27, 2019.

Careers in Forestry:Becoming a Consulting Forester.” Jay Hayek (n.d.) University of Illinois Extension website. Retrieved November 27, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Forestry Consultant

Scholarships in our system that are relevant for becoming a forestry consultant are all of those that can be found on our Botany Scholarships and Forestry Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to for eventually working in this field:


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